Although his team was unable to successfully defend its NBA title following a second-round playoff exit, two-time MVP Stephen Curry still walked away from the 2022-23 season with yet another accolade on his resumé.
But this time it didn’t just highlight his play on the hardwood.
Tuesday, the NBA announced that Curry was named the ’22-23 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion, selected from a group of five finalists that included Memphis’ Jaren Jackson Jr., San Antonio’s Tre Jones, the Phoenix Suns’ Chris Paul and Boston Celtic Grant Williams. According to the league, the award is given to a player that is “pursuing social Justice and advancing Abdul-Jabbar’s life mission to engage, empower and drive equality for individuals and groups who have been historically marginalized or systematically disadvantaged.” Curry’s work as a co-chair for former First Lady Michelle Obama’s “When We All Vote” initiative and his participation in the National Basketball Social Justice Coalition’s “Freedom to Vote” social media campaign seemingly separated him from the rest of the pack, in addition to his advocacy of the Freedom to Vote Act and philanthropic efforts in the East Oakland area. Curry will now have a $100,000 donation made on his behalf to the University of San Francisco Institute for Nonviolence and Social Justice.
“I’m passionate about the work of the University of San Francisco Institute for Nonviolence and Social Justice and its commitment to overcoming injustice and systemic violence through peace,” said Curry in a press release from the league. “As an athlete, I consistently leverage my platform to amplify advocacy and address the pervasive issue of systemic racism. I firmly believe that we must be vocal both on social media and in real life, taking tangible actions to effect real change in our society and for generations to come. Together, with the organization’s co-founder and director, Dr. Clarence B. Jones, we have initiated meaningful conversations around social justice with the school’s student body, doubled the charity’s donations through my foundation Eat. Learn. Play.’s gift matching initiatives, and continued building on its mission in my personal and professional life by holding people accountable and promoting the principles of justice, fairness and equality today, tomorrow and in the future.”
Last week, Curry won the Professional Basketball Writers Association’s 2023 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, which highlighted his work in the community. Now, Curry has been proclaimed to be the league’s Social Justice Champion by a selection committee that included Abdul-Jabbar and notable social justice leaders Director of The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport Dr. Richard Lapchick, National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial, UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía, Rise Founder and CEO Amanda Nguyen and NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum.
Meanwhile, the other four finalists will all have $25,000 donated to a charity of their choice, as Williams selected VisionC, Jackson Jr. chose The Obama Foundation’s Girls Opportunity Alliance, Jones opted for Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas and Paul picked the Social Change Fund United.